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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: HO-97
Corporate Name: Louisiana & Texas Lumber Company
Local Name: 4-C
Owner Name: Central Coal & Coke Company
Location: Kennard, adjacent to Ratcliff; now Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area: 357/7
County: Houston
Years in Operation: 17 years
Start Year: 1902
End Year: 1918
Decades: 1900-1909,1910-1919
Period of Operation: 1902 to 1918
Town: Kennard, adjacent to Ratcliff
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 1500 to 3000 in 1905
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: All types of manufactured lumber, shingle, from short leaf pine.
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Steam
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 300,000
Capacity Comments: 300,000 in 1906
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: Sawmill varied between triple bands and a large gang to double bands, singular circular, and a large gang. It also had dry kilns, a planing mill
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Eastern Texas Railroad provided connections with the Cotton Belt, the Texas & New Orleans, and the Houston East & West Texas.
Historicial Development: This was the largest sawmill west of the Mississippi, second largest in country, at the time. In March 1906, the mill ran from 250,000 to 300,000 feet every day, losing only half a day's work. The motto in 1918 was “capacity-capability-carefulness- consideration.” It was the largest shingle producer in the South. It had artificial electric lighting in the mill, a natural pond,, five boilers at 575-horsepower, two double sheds, five kilns that could dry up to 200,000 feet. The Shreveport Blowpipe and Sheet Metal Company installed a “cool air system,” because of a reported need of the size of the mill. This was the first air conditioning system ever installed in Texas. A conductor and an engineer died in a train wreck on the tram road in 1903. According to several oral history interviews, the mill's demise resulted from two causes. The first was socio-economic battle between the company and the merchants at Ratcliff, where selection of goods was better and prices lower. The company attempted to keep tenant buying at the commissary through the building of a sixteen-feet wall between the mill town and Ratcliff, which resulted in the dynamiting of the wall. The second was betrayal: one of its timber purchasers, a man named McTavish, was assisting Southern Pine Lumber Company at Diboll to buy timber lands under his guise as a buyer for 4-C.
Research Date: JKG 12-9-93, MCJ 12-26-94
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M Johnson